Barcelona transfer news: Messi approves summer targets and Alaba wanted, Arsenal poached again and more - 1st February 2018
Lionel Messi approves three summer signings
The January transfer window has come to an end and the focus has now shifted to the summer transfer window. Barcelona have already started their planning for the summer transfer window and Spanish news outlet, Don Balon, states that Messi has given his approval for the top three summer targets.
First on the list is none other than Atletico Madrid's Antoine Griezmann, regarding whom the Blaugrana issued an official statement recently clarifying that they have not contacted the forward. However, one needs to take the statement with a pinch of salt as it is becoming increasingly common for suitors to approach the player without his club's permission.
Griezmann is expected to cost around €100 million and the club has reportedly saved the no.7 jersey for him. Next on the list is Copa Libertadores winner, Gremio's Arthur Melo. The Brazilian is considered to be in the mould of the ageing Andres Iniesta and his style of play is expected to fit in well with the Barcelona system as well. Further, at 21 years of age, Arthur has his best years ahead of him and can secure the Catalan outfit's midfield for the next decade.
Finally, Messi also wants the club to sign a new left-back as a long-term replacement for Jordi Alba with Frenchman Lucas Digne not impressing enough so far. As per AS, the Catalan outfit are interested in completing a stunning move for Bayern Munich's David Alaba, who is considered to be one of the best left-backs in world football and can play in central defence as well as in central midfield.
Barcelona technical secretary, Robert Fernandez, has spoken to club president Josep Maria Bartomeu as per the report and asked for the player to be brought in for next season. Alaba is one of the most important players at Bayern Munich and it remains to be seen whether they will sell to their European rivals.
Aleix Vidal staying put for now
The former Sevilla right-back, who can play on the right wing as well, was expected to leave Camp Nou along with the likes of Javier Mascherano (Hebei China Fortune), Rafinha (Inter Milan), Gerard Deulofeu (Watford) and Arda Turan (İstanbul Basaksehir). However, Barcelona boss, Ernesto Valverde spoke about Vidal's future in his pre-match press conference ahead of his team's Copa del Rey semifinal against Valencia and said:
"There has been a lot of speculation regarding Aleix. It is true. He is a player who has been playing. He is not an indisputable starter title but he has been helping us regularly. He started in the previous [Copa del Rey] tie against Espanyol."
"We have to consider that three players who play in a similar position like Arda, Deulofeu or Rafinha have left the club this month. So, It's good that he stays because we think he can help us."
While Valverde held on to Vidal to provide cover after losing three players in a similar position, it also provides the 28-year old with an excellent final opportunity to redeem himself and succeed at one of the biggest clubs in world football.
Barcelona sign Marcus McGuane from Arsenal
The Blaugrana completed the signing of the 18-year old from Arsenal to strengthen their B team. The official club statement read:
FC Barcelona and Arsenal have come to an agreement by which the midfielder Marcus McGuane will be transferred to Barça B. McGuane’s deal will keep him at Barça for three seasons, plus two option years. The buyout clause has been set at €25m.
McGuane passed his physical with the FC Barcelona medical services team and formalized the deal on Tuesday afternoon at the Club’s offices at the Ciutat Esportiva. On hand for the signing were the Football Manager, Pep Segura, and the Technical Secretary for Professional Academy Football, Jose Mari Bakero.
McGuane was at Arsenal since the age of six and made two appearances in the Europa League this season. The Englishman's move to Barcelona is an interesting one given the difficulty for youngsters in recent years to make it to the senior team when compared with Arsenal.
However, if the defensive midfielder can put his head down and work, then the move represents a great chance for the youngster to succeed at Camp Nou.